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kindergarten teacher, sun lover, scorpio-introvert, dog mom, obsessed with low-tox living. Hoping to help you parent your littles, make some clean swaps, & simply live your best life.

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mackenzie

8/31/2021

4 Ways to help your child through Big Feelings

Big events often lead to big feelings in kids. Whether it’s the first day of school, a field trip, or a family trip it’s common for kids to have these “big feelings.” 

Now, let’s define “big feelings”

These are feelings your child has that they might not be able to voice or understand. Often, these feelings come out in unfavorable and random ways. 

For example, your child is feeling really nervous about going to the bathroom at school but they haven’t said anything to you. Likely they don’t recognize their feelings or don’t know how to name them. This might show up as them stomping their feet and saying no when you told them to do something they usually do no problem every day.

Comparison

Think about it this way – when we have our own “big feelings” as adults and we don’t talk about them, how do they show up? In random ways. We pick an accidental fight with our S/O. We get mad at the grocery clerk for bagging up our items wrong (just me? LOL). 

The difference here is that kids are simply learning which feelings they are having and how to navigate them. They don’t have labels for all of their feelings yet, so it’s part of our role as their parents and teachers to help them identify and name their feelings. 

Example

Here’s an example of naming feelings: “I feel nervous about going to the bathroom at school. It’s new and sometimes nervous feelings come with new things” 

The four things!

Aside from naming the feelings, you want to help your child move through them, not get stuck in them. Here are four things you can do to help your child through their big feelings:

  1. Read books about that topic. 
  2. Look at a map or pictures of the new place.
  3. Journal/draw these 3 things:
    1. What are you (child) excited about?
    2. What are you feeling nervous or sad about?
    3. What would it going well look like?
  4. Help them pick out something to bring in their backpack to remind them that you’re there for them without being there. This could be a small stuffed animal, a blanket, a sweatshirt, picture — whatever fits in their backpack and comforts them. 

Aside from helping them feel and process through their feelings, this also gives you insight into what they’re thinking and feeling!

Using the example of going to school:

  1. Read books that are a story set around going back to school
  2. Look at or draw a map of the school. Locate their classroom, bathrooms, office, and where they’ll enter/exit
  3. Journal/draw:
    1. What are you (child) excited about?
    2. What are you feeling nervous or sad about?
    3. What does a good first day include?

Then keep on loving on them! You know your child, so you’ll know how often to check back in with these feelings. Let me know how it goes!

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